Author Topic: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?  (Read 1037 times)

Offline mcalpinehastings

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #18 on: Monday 26 June 17 23:29 BST (UK) »
Follow up newbie question.  When you get to a point in your research where you have a name and a birth year but not much more besides, how can you decide if any of the available records belong to your guy or girl?

For example, I'd like to continue following the McAlpine line, and the oldest record I have is for a James McAlpine bc 1801, but all I know location-wise is that he was born in Scotland but not in Dundee, where he resided in 1841. 

I do find a boy named James McAlpine born in Glasgow in 1801 to James McAlpine and Janet Carsteven, but I have no way of knowing whether this is MY James McAlpine.

Advice?
Hastings, McAlpine, Smith, Brown, Walls, Gow, Stewart, Culross

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Offline Rosinish

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #19 on: Tuesday 27 June 17 04:03 BST (UK) »
the oldest record I have is for a James McAlpine bc 1801, but all I know location-wise is that he was born in Scotland but not in Dundee, where he resided in 1841. 

I do find a boy named James McAlpine born in Glasgow in 1801 to James McAlpine and Janet Carsteven, but I have no way of knowing whether this is MY James McAlpine.

Did he live his life out in Scotland?

If so, when was the last sighting of him on the census'?

If he died after 1855 his parents names will be on his DC (including mother's maiden name) providing the informant knew those details.

Annie
South Uist, Inverness-shire, Scotland:- Bowie, Campbell, Cumming, Currie, MacDonald, MacInnes, MacIntyre, MacKinnon, Steele, Walker

Ireland:- Cullen, Flannigan (Derry), Donahoe/Donaghue (variants) (Cork), McCrate (Tipperary), Mellon, Tol(l)and (Donegal & Tyrone)

Newcastle-on-Tyne/Durham (Northumberland):- Harrison, Jude, Kemp, Lunn, Mellon, Robson, Stirling

Kettering, Northampton:- MacKinnon

Canada:- Callaghan, MacKinnon, MacPhee

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Offline mcalpinehastings

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #20 on: Tuesday 27 June 17 04:27 BST (UK) »
Thanks, Annie, for your help.

Last census record for James McAlpine found him living in Dundee with his family in 1841.  By 1851 the children were split up, and the parents not listed, leading me to believe that they both died between 1841 and 1851.  Certainly pre-1855, which means I have only church records to go by, and I couldn't find any records of death for James McAlpine.

I searched for the children and found the older boys all boarding separately in 1851 in St. Vigeans, but could only find marriage records for one of the boys, William (thanks to Annette!), and that doesn't help me with James' parents names.

Hastings, McAlpine, Smith, Brown, Walls, Gow, Stewart, Culross

Offline jennywren001

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #21 on: Tuesday 27 June 17 08:47 BST (UK) »
Hi Sharon,
You might want to have a look at the McAlpin(e) folk listed in the Howff burials - that wee boy Andrew could be the son of James and Jean.
http://www.fdca.org.uk/pdf%20files/HowffMc01.pdf
Jen
North East Scotland above the Tay...
JOLLY, Johnston,Thom, Rae, Davidson, Fielding, Sherret
FEARN, McKenzie, Stirling [brick wall], Robb, Wilson, Stott
RUSSELL, Fullerton, Christie, Cochrane, Davidson, Coutts, Easton, Scott
FRASER, Henderson, Noble, Mundie, Goodall, Thain, Neish, Moir

Offline Forfarian

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #22 on: Tuesday 27 June 17 17:34 BST (UK) »
Quote from: mcalpinehastings link=topic=773920.msg6271610#msg6271610
being told that Ancestry is worthless!
  Indeed. See http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=714261.0

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The name was, we thought, "MacAlpine" but turns out that's wrong it's actually "McAlpine" but was mis-recorded when the family came to America as these things are.
Please disabuse yourself of the idea that there was ever such a thing as 'correct spelling'. There wasn't. Names were just written down however the person writing them down thought they ought to be written down. Therefore (a) it was not a 'mistake' to spell it MacAlpine when they arrived in America and (b) you need to be aware of all possible spellings when searching, as you have discovered.

So what do you suggest I use as surname for Mary's baptismal records if her mother is listed as "Jane Ker McAlpine/ M.S. Walls".  does that mean that Walls is surname and Ker is a middle name?
It means that Walls was her maiden surname (M.S.) and Ker(r) was her middle name. So for clarity you should call her Jane Ker(r) Walls. However it is very common indeed to omit middle names from baptism and other records.

Could Carwell or whatever have been a corruption of Cargill, which is an extremely common surname around Arbroath?

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Also, if parents weren't married, would the church have baptised the baby?
Yes, they would. Eventually.

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1) How common was it for couples to live together, cohabitate and raise a family without being married?
I'd say it was fairly unusual for a couple to chabit and have quite such a large family.

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and 2) How do you research ancestors pre-1855 if there are no church records?
With great difficulty :( unless they owned land or got themselves into trouble with the law or the church.

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Follow up newbie question.  When you get to a point in your research where you have a name and a birth year but not much more besides, how can you decide if any of the available records belong to your guy or girl?
You can't, unless you can find some other piece of evidence. The one thing you must never do is to assume that, just because you can only find one candidate, that person is the right one.
Researching

AITKENHEAD, Lanarkshire; BINNY, Forfar; BLACK, New Monkland; BRYSON, Cumbernauld; BURGESS, North-East Scotland; CRUICKSHANK, Rothes; DALLAS, Botriphnie; DAVIDSON, Oyne; GUTHRIE, Angus; HOGG, Larbert; LESLIE, Rothes/Mortlach; MENDUM, England; MOLLISON, Lethnot; PATERSON, Larbert; RHIND, Forfar; SANG, Scotland; SCOTT, East Kilbride; STOR(R)I/E/Y, Shotts; THORNTON, Shotts; WADDELL, New Monkland; WILKIE, New Monkland; WILKIE, Tannadice; WYLLIE, Angus; YOUNG, Keith

Offline mcalpinehastings

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #23 on: Tuesday 27 June 17 18:35 BST (UK) »
Thank you, Forfarian, for your very thorough reply!  I searched for Cargill, which was a great idea, but didn't find a marriage between Jane/Jean Carwill/Carwell/Cargill/Ker Wells/whatever(!) and James McAlpine.  I obviously wouldn't have found a birth record for her if, as it says on the 1841 census records, she was born in Ireland.

I am still kind of caught up on the idea that Mary McAlpine and James Hastings never married, nor did she ever take his name on any records I found before or after his death.  I wish I could find more about her story--it's funny but it's usually the female ancestors that capture my imagination--I seem to have had a lot of very strong women in my family history, which bears out in my current ferocious female relatives.  :)

I think my next step, as suggested by Rosinish, is to start looking for graves.  I think I've pretty much exhausted the digital archives. 
Hastings, McAlpine, Smith, Brown, Walls, Gow, Stewart, Culross

Offline Forfarian

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #24 on: Tuesday 27 June 17 21:06 BST (UK) »
I am still kind of caught up on the idea that Mary McAlpine and James Hastings never married, nor did she ever take his name on any records I found before or after his death.
I don't know if you know that Scottish birth certificates after about 1860 list the date and place of the parents' marriage, so it might be interesting to get some of them and see what they say. If they all say illegitimate, I think that would be pretty definitive. I wonder if perhaps James was married to someone else? Have you found his death certificate? If he was, and whoever registered his death knew that he was, it should say so on the death certificate.

As for burials, go to www.deceasedonline.com. Angus Council has made all its burial records available there, at a price. This would cover Arbroath and Brechin but not Dundee.
Researching

AITKENHEAD, Lanarkshire; BINNY, Forfar; BLACK, New Monkland; BRYSON, Cumbernauld; BURGESS, North-East Scotland; CRUICKSHANK, Rothes; DALLAS, Botriphnie; DAVIDSON, Oyne; GUTHRIE, Angus; HOGG, Larbert; LESLIE, Rothes/Mortlach; MENDUM, England; MOLLISON, Lethnot; PATERSON, Larbert; RHIND, Forfar; SANG, Scotland; SCOTT, East Kilbride; STOR(R)I/E/Y, Shotts; THORNTON, Shotts; WADDELL, New Monkland; WILKIE, New Monkland; WILKIE, Tannadice; WYLLIE, Angus; YOUNG, Keith

Offline mcalpinehastings

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #25 on: Tuesday 27 June 17 23:55 BST (UK) »
So I found James' burial register in Montrose Jan 1887, under residence or designation it says, "Asylum"  Does that mean some kind of hospital or do they mean lunatic asylum?  Can't locate death certificate, and the burial records don't provide much information.

I so far have found birth records of two of their children that clearly say "illegitimate".  They were still all living together according to census of 1881, but by 1887 he was in Montrose by himself.  Mary and children continued in Arbroath, I found 1891 census she's listed as "Mary Hastings" (the only time I've seen that!) with the kids by herself.

Certainly would be interesting if he had another family somewhere, but I'm not picking up any clues that it's the case.
Hastings, McAlpine, Smith, Brown, Walls, Gow, Stewart, Culross

Offline Forfarian

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Re: How do I find pre-1855 ancestors if they weren't church members?
« Reply #26 on: Wednesday 28 June 17 07:49 BST (UK) »
So I found James' burial register in Montrose Jan 1887, under residence or designation it says, "Asylum"  Does that mean some kind of hospital or do they mean lunatic asylum?
Montrose had a huge asylum at Hillside, that provided a service for most of Angus. Although principally intended for 'lunatics', such asylums often accommodated people suffering from dementia and other problems of old age.

I do not know, never having looked for them, whether the patient records of the Montrose Asylum have survived, but if they have and you can track them down they will tell you a huge amount of detail about James Hastings. I would start at https://www.dundee.ac.uk/archives/

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Can't locate death certificate
I don't understand that.

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They were still all living together according to census of 1881, but by 1887 he was in Montrose by himself.  Mary and children continued in Arbroath, I found 1891 census she's listed as "Mary Hastings" (the only time I've seen that!) with the kids by herself.
It wasn't unusual for a family to be split up if one of them had to be admitted to a hospital for whatever reason. I wouldn't read anything into James being apparently alone in Montrose.

Researching

AITKENHEAD, Lanarkshire; BINNY, Forfar; BLACK, New Monkland; BRYSON, Cumbernauld; BURGESS, North-East Scotland; CRUICKSHANK, Rothes; DALLAS, Botriphnie; DAVIDSON, Oyne; GUTHRIE, Angus; HOGG, Larbert; LESLIE, Rothes/Mortlach; MENDUM, England; MOLLISON, Lethnot; PATERSON, Larbert; RHIND, Forfar; SANG, Scotland; SCOTT, East Kilbride; STOR(R)I/E/Y, Shotts; THORNTON, Shotts; WADDELL, New Monkland; WILKIE, New Monkland; WILKIE, Tannadice; WYLLIE, Angus; YOUNG, Keith